Groundworks have started at the short game improvement centre for the Alison Nicholas Golf Academy in Birmingham. This is on schedule to be playable just before the return of the Ryder Cup to the Midlands next year.
The course has been designed by 1997 US Women’s Open champion Alison Nicholas MBE and Gary Broadbent, PGA professional and director of golf at the Hostcentre working closely with landscape architect Francis Colella.
There are nine short holes of 50-90 metres in a tight layout with a variety of hazards and features, elevated tees and greens as well as straight approaches. Several holes will feature water hazards or ditches so creating every conceivable shot required to practise the short game. “Each hole will present a challenge to golfers to help them fine tune their pitching and putting skills” says Alison.
Formerly a sand quarry and more recently a brown field, the site will be transformed aesthetically as well as functionally. Richard Nicol, founder and managing director of the £6.5m Hostcentre development explains, “This is an excellent example of regeneration of land for sporting use and will visually enhance the area. We shall be re-sculpting and landscaping the contours around the site and will be working with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers to preserve the archaeological interest in Booths Farm which is adjacent to the new course.”
Construction will be carried out by Moss Construction (preliminary groundworks) and Blakedown Construction, specialists in golf course construction. Coincidentally, next door to the Hostcentre construction company Gallifords is rebuilding Perry Beeches School. In the process they will be stripping 2,500m3 of top soil, almost the Hostcentre’s exact requirements for the new golf course. To the mutual financial benefit and convenience of both parties the soil will be transported directly from one site to the other.